Borgin Keep: Berkley Street Series Book 8
Borgin Keep: Berkley Street Series Book 8
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A building that combines the horrors of both worlds...
Shane Ryan and his ghostbusting partner, Frank Benedict, have been killing ghosts all over New England. He’s always thought the jobs were random until he runs into The Watchers, an elite group who’s decided Shane is a threat to their own sinister plans. Their leader, Harlan Canus, sends Shane a gruesome message that can’t be ignored.
Marie Lafontaine joins Shane and Frank as they descend on Borgin Keep, which is set in the lush hills of Vermont. They discover The Watchers have a few ghastly secrets of their own, hidden within the chilling castle. Emmanuel Borgin, long dead, has an uneasy alliance with Watchers. Alliance or not, Shane is determined to finish the job … even if it means destroying Harlan right along with the deadly Emmanuel!
The trio searches the hidden passages and secret rooms for Emmanuel’s bones, realizing Borgin Keep is a shifting house of horrors. From the flesh-eating undead to faceless demons, Emmanuel throws his worst supernatural minions at the crew. Shane knows he’s got to stop Emmanuel and Harlan or more innocents will die, suffering unspeakable torture, and agonizing deaths.
Failure is not an option, but annihilating the uncanny ghost and his grisly castle could be the last job Shane ever completes.
Chapter 1: Locked, Barred and Sealed
Borgin Keep was a masterful construction, perched upon a hilltop in Samsett, Vermont. The building dominated the horizon, its stones hewn from the granite hills when the Roaring Twenties were in their infancy and the Great Depression was nothing but a dark nightmare looming in the future.
The various histories written by ambitious members of the Samsett Historical Society described Borgin Keep in less than glowing terms. Emmanuel Borgin was, by all accounts, a wretch of a man. In a time known for brutality and the crushing of workers beneath the combined wheels of progress and industry, Emmanuel exceeded all of his peers. Only the desperate worked for Emmanuel, and in the woods of Vermont and New Hampshire, men were desperate.
Emmanuel’s harsh practices filled graveyards even as they raised the walls of the Keep. He was a secretive man who employed over thirty architects for the construction of the Keep, which consisted of ten thousand square feet, and rivaled the gothic structures of Europe. Rumors abounded about secret passages, hidden rooms, and a hallway that felt wrong.
Rich Blonde thought about all of it as he looked at his cameras. He had three of them on the hood of his jeep, each loaded with a high capacity memory card. Rich was clad all in black, not for any fashion statement, but to ensure that his clothes didn’t reflect any light.
He stepped back, examined them with a critical eye, and then nodded to himself. From the front seat, he took his GoPro camera, slipped the headset it was attached to into place, and adjusted it. The elastic band fit tight, but it was better than having it loose. A tight fit ensured a great video stream, and live-streaming his adventures paid Rich’s bills.
Lots of people, he had discovered, enjoyed the thrill of a life lived vicariously through others. And Rich was happy to provide the thrill.
He had explored abandoned sanitariums, asylums, hospitals, mills, houses, and cemeteries. An entire audience existed for such examinations, especially when it was done illegally. Rich’s former life as an accountant was happily forgotten, cast aside for the adrenaline rush of breaking into the building.
He caught himself smiling, and then chuckled. With a swift push he got out of the car, closed the door and locked it. Rich hid the car key in the wheel well of the back tire. With that done, he slipped cameras into the pockets of the black hunting vest he wore. Rich double-checked the laces on his hiking boots, made sure his cell phone was on silent and pulled on his gloves.
Borgin Keep glared down at him from the summit of the hill and Rich gave a nod of respect to it.
The building had claimed its share of urban adventurers. People had gone into it and disappeared. Others had been found half-starved and insane. Plenty had also been caught by the on again off again security service which patrolled the grounds. There was no set schedule kept by the company, and guards were always dropped off so there wasn’t a vehicle that could be identified. Rich had studied Borgin Keep, and he planned on a thorough examination, and documentation of the structure. He even had three hundred dollars to bribe any guards who might interrupt him. Let’s do this, he thought with a nod, and he stepped away from his jeep. He kept to the shadows as the sun set, keeping an eye on the Keep as he moved forward. The closer he drew to the building, the quieter the area became. Soon the only sound Rich could hear was that of his own footsteps, and he was a soft walker.
The lack of birdsong and the silence of the insects sent a thrill of excitement through him. He had read about how animals would abandon a haunted place. Rich had no fear of ghosts. He knew, in spite of the protests of some doomsayers, that ghosts couldn’t harm people.
Rich hoped he might catch something on film. Maybe some of the orbs he had seen on various ghost specials on TV, or even a figure.
Shots like those would cause a spike in his audience, which meant more money at the end of the week.
Grinning, Rich was filled with excitement. He forced himself to keep a steady pace and to continue looking out for guards.
None appeared, and in a matter of moments, Rich found himself standing at Borgin Keep.
The walls towered above him, the stones massive and the windows set deep within carved alcoves. Bars were crisscrossed over each window, and wood had been nailed in place from the interior of the building. Broken glass littered the sills and glinted in the last of the day’s light. The air was colder near the Keep as if it rejected the sun and the warmth it provided.
The chill stole some of the excitement Rich felt. With a hand that trembled, he reached up and turned on his GoPro camera. He thought about the Keep, remembered the layout of the exterior, and continued on to the right. Some bloggers had said the main entrance was set with an electronic trip alarm, but for some reason, the kitchen door wasn’t.
It took him several minutes to make it around to the back of the Keep. He passed dead bushes, and what looked like the rotted remains of a rabbit pressed up against the stone. A hedgerow garden stretched out behind the house, a malignant entity that flowed down several terraces.
Rich paused as he realized the garden was a maze, a dark structure in the center of it. His eye kept returning to the small building, almost a mausoleum, the copper roof green with patina. Rich’s stomach turned and threatened revolt as he looked at it. Finally, he was able to tear his gaze away and hurry with clumsy steps to the kitchen door.
The door looked as though it had been carved from a single piece of dark wood. It was tall and narrow, and Rich wondered if he would have to angle his shoulders to get in. A quick search of the door revealed that it lacked a handle, latch, lock, and hinges.
With his heart thumping in his chest, Rich reached out and put his fingertips on the door.
It swung in without a sound and Rich’s breath caught in his throat.
The cold air of the house slammed into him, settled into his bones, and set his teeth to rattling.
For the first time, Rich felt unsure about what he was about to do.
He recalled all of the stories he had read about the Keep and how he had dismissed them.
Maybe, he thought, hesitating at the threshold, maybe there’s some truth to it all.
Rich shook his head. Even if there is, ghosts still can’t hurt you.
With a deep breath, Rich walked into the kitchen.
Chapter 2: Making a Decision
“Has she been moved?” the old man asked.
“Yes,” Ms. Coleman answered.
“Excellent.” He took his thick framed glasses off, picked up a maroon polishing cloth from the leather blotter, and cleaned the lenses. “Do we have an asset willing to take on the assignment?”
“Yes,” Ms. Coleman replied. “He’ll be down from Bennington tomorrow morning. The assignment should be concluded in the late evening or early morning.”
“Very good,” he said, smiling. He put his glasses back on and asked, “Tell me, Ms. Coleman, someone has secured a delivery vehicle?”
Ms. Coleman nodded. She knew the ‘someone’ he spoke of was her. “Yes, sir. We’ve obtained a DHL van, with the appropriate uniform.”
“That, Ms. Coleman,” the old man said, “is some of the best news I have heard today. Now, tell me, has there been any news from the team in southern New Hampshire?”
“Yes, sir,” she replied. “They report that there is a house on Concord Street which may serve as a replacement stop on the ley line for the loss of Slater Mill. Also, further up in Merrimack along the Daniel Webster Highway. They have not reached out to the dead yet.”
The old man nodded, turned in his chair, and glanced out the plate glass window at the world beyond the office.
Ms. Coleman wondered, briefly, what it was the man thought about.
“One last question, Ms. Coleman,” he said, facing her once more.
“When Abigail was here, did she have you make coffee or did she send out for it?” he asked.
The question caught her off guard, and she almost stuttered as she answered him. “It depended on the day. More often than not I made her coffee in the front office.”
He nodded. “Would you please make me a cup? Black and strong, if you could.”
As pleasant as the request was, Ms. Coleman knew it was a command.
“Yes, sir,” she said and hurried out of the room. As she went about readying the Keurig, Ms. Coleman hoped they would find a replacement for Abigail soon.
Ms. Coleman’s hands trembled as she poured water into the reservoir, trying not to think of the old man in the other room.
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